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Head and Neck Cancer Program

A collaborative effort between Memorial Hermann-TMC and the department of Otorhinolaryngology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, the Head and Neck Cancer Program offers state-of-the art care for patients with tumors of the head and neck. Patients have immediate access to new medical and surgical therapies, including organ-preservation therapy using chemotherapy and radiation, minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgery, robotic thyroidectomy, transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) and transoral robotic surgery (TORS). Those who qualify have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of treatments not otherwise available.

Our patients have immediate access to multidisciplinary management expertise including oncologic and reconstructive surgery, medical oncology, radiation therapy, oral surgery, pathology, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine, pain medicine, speech therapy, voice restoration and nutrition services. Following the removal of large tumors, we offer the possibility of immediate reconstruction by a fellowship-trained facial and plastic reconstructive surgeon with attention to both function and cosmesis. Our goal is the eradication of cancer with a minimum of side effects for the patient.

Scope of Expertise

  • Malignancies of the tongue
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the oral cavity (lips, gums and soft and hard palates)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the oropharynx (soft palate, tonsils and tongue base)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the throat and voice box (pharynx, larynx, trachea)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the nose and paranasal sinuses
  • Malignancies of the thyroid and parathyroid
  • All other types of head and neck cancer
  • Treatment of the secondary effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy

Treatment

We are committed to innovation in the treatment of complex malignancies and to close collaboration with referring physicians. Once a diagnosis has been made, we have at our disposal the most advanced treatment options available, including state-of-the-art medical therapy and surgery using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.

Reconstructive Surgery

Our facial and plastic reconstructive surgeon offers specialized procedures and services for the repair of facial and head/neck deformities resulting from tumor removal and skin cancer excision. Our ability to perform microvascular free-tissue transfer allows us to reconstruct the most complex of secondary facial defects, with the goal of achieving maximal restoration and improvement in patients’ self-confidence.

Innovation and Robotics

Approved by the FDA in December 2009 for transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for resection of tumors of the tongue and throat, the da Vinci® Surgical System offers advantages beyond traditional surgical approaches to the throat, especially in the region of the tonsils and tongue base. Rather than having to divide the lower lip or divide the mandible in the midline, our surgeons can approach these tumors directly through the mouth using the da Vinci robot. The robot’s camera allows for visualization around structures such as the tongue, providing a highly magnified three-dimensional view
Learn more about robotic-assisted surgery »

Patient-Centered Care

Our philosophy of patient-centered care includes respect for each patient’s values, preferences and expressed needs; the coordination and integration of care; communication and education; physical comfort and emotional support; and the involvement of family and friends in the treatment and recovery process.

Referrals

To refer or schedule a patient, please call 713.486.5000.

Research

The value of bench research and clinical trials in advancing quality of care and improving outcomes is undisputed. From the patient perspective, participation in a clinical trial carries controlled risks and offers significant advantages in terms of very close and personalized long-term follow-up. It also offers patients treatment options that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

As the primary teaching hospital for the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, Memorial Hermann-TMC is positioned on the frontiers of medicine, creating innovative programs of care, engaging in leading-edge research and promoting education, all of which improve human health and well-being.

Current Issues in Otorhinolaryngology

If you would like to receive our enewsletter on current issues in otorhinolaryngology, please contact us at 713.486.5000 or request a subscription online at www.ut-ent.net.

Meet the Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Team

Ron Karni, M.D.Ron J. Karni, M.D.

Board-Certified Otolaryngologist

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center

Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School

Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine

Residency: Washington University School of Medicine

Clinical Interests: Head and neck oncologic surgery; robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgery, including transoral robotic surgery (TORS); management of thyroid and parathyroid disorders, including diagnostic ultrasonography; treatment of salivary gland disorders; surgery of the nose and paranasal sinuses; and evaluation of voice and swallowing problems

Kunal Jain MD

Kunal Jain, M.D.

Board-Certified Otolaryngologist

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center

Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School

Medical School: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Residency: SUNY Upstate Medical University

Fellowship: University of Pennsylvania

Clinical Interests: Improving outcomes after head and neck cancer treatment, transoral surgery (TORS), skin cancer surgery, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, microvascular reconstruction

Tang Ho, M.D.

Tang Ho, M.D., M.Sc.

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center

Assistant Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School

Medical School: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Residency: Baylor College of Medicine

Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)

Specialty Interests: Aesthetic and reconstructive surgeries of the face; rhinoplasty; microvascular free-tissue transfer for head and neck reconstruction; facial reanimation procedures for patients with facial paralysis; reconstructive surgery of facial skin cancer defects